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Is there any harm in applying?

By master3bs ·
I'm happy with my job. It's a government job, and doesn't pay as much as I would in the private sector; but I love what I do and where I do it.

Somebody here (who works for a different branch of the government) brought two new positions to my attention. One is similar to what I do now and only pays a little bit more; and when gas is added it might not be worth it.

The other deals more heavily with programming and pays substantially more than I get paid now. I don't know that it would get back that I applied. I just hate to leave a job quickly and I've only been here about 4 months.

Does it ever hurt to apply?

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by JamesRL In reply to Is there any harm in appl ...

I know some of the peers here will disgaree, but job hopping doesn't look good on a resume. When I hire, I look for someone who will be happy in the role for a good two years or so.

On the other hand, as long as you don't have a steady record of it, its ok to have one instance of it. You can say you just didn't fit in, and leave it at that if it comes up in the future.


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4 months is not good to hop jobs ...

by stargazerr In reply to Is there any harm in appl ...

Even if you dont actually change your job, applying elsewhere (or for another position), will not look good on your CV.

In my opinion, you should stick around for at least a year, and prove yourself.

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Like always, it depends

by illilli In reply to Is there any harm in appl ...

I wasn't exactly clear if the new positions were government or public, but it seemed like they were probably public. So, you would be moving from a comfortable government job that you love to a higer paying public job with many unknown environment aspects (you might have a terrible boss, the work might unenjoyable, etc.)

I tell you that I have had many friends that made the switchover. A lot of them regretted the move. The public environment is different; it's less comfortable and secure. My friends left a large community of associates that they had worked with for many years to go a company where the turnover rate was high, job loyalty less than perfect, and a different how-to-get-ahead mentality existed. I guess you could say they found out the grass was greener on the other side.

If you are moving to another government position, then that would be a whole different ballgame. In that case, I think you have to examine your motives. If you say you love your current position, but are still thinking about moving, then maybe you don't really love your position. I'm sure there are other things you might find out if you take a hard look at your motivation for moving.

I always use a selfish measure for selecting job choices: where will I be most happy? Being happy with my work is extremely important to me. I get a large portion of my self-worth from the performance of my work, so if I am happy at work, my feelings of self-esteem are increased. This makes me a better person to be around and makes my wife happier. If my wife is happy, then the happiness feedback loop is complete and the universe is well.

I say you should do what will increase your happiness.

NOTE: I originally had my Public/Private sector wires crossed and had private where I meant public.

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Go for it

by amcol In reply to Is there any harm in appl ...

I'm not being contrary just for the sake of contrariness, but I do have a different perspective from all the other posters as well as a departure from the advice I normally give in this situation.

First of all, the mere act of applying for another position looks neither good nor bad from a resume perspective. You don't list all the jobs you've applied for, you list what you've done. If you apply for a job with me and you show ten years of experience, I don't know if you've applied for a new job on a weekly basis in all that time or not, and frankly I don't care.

While you don't say if the opportunities in question are in the public or private sector, unlike another poster I'm assuming they're public since they were brought to your attention by another government worker. I'm a government worker myself (Federal) having spent more than 30 years in the private sector, and I can tell you that job hopping in the public sector is much's a lot more accepted and expected, mostly because administrations change so frequently. Washington DC is a very transient town for that reason. Don't let that hold you back.

You are correct, however, to be a little concerned that it might get back to your current employer that you're applying for another job. There are no secrets in government service, it's a remarkably tight knit community and something I've found very disconcerting considering my own background. That really doesn't matter too much either for the same reason...folks in the public sector routinely job hop. Only you can figure out what kind of relationship you have with your boss and whether or not...and unsuccessful application for another position will affect that relationship.

There are just as many good and bad managers and situations on the public side as the private, so that's not a consideration. You do ultimately have to decide what makes you happy. What's your own personal Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs? Figure that out first and you'll have a better idea what to do.

BTW, it's not necessarily true that the private sector is less secure and comfortable than the public side. Every single one of us should come to work every single day expecting to hear the words "you're fired". The government is just as fickle an employer as any publicly traded or privately owned company, and that's a good thing...never allow yourself to get complacent, and never allow yourself to get so deeply ensconced in a womb-like comfort zone that you're afraid to make any moves. Without risk you don't make mistakes, and without mistakes you cheat yourself of a learning opportunity.

To answer your specific, it doesn't hurt to apply. You have very little to lose and potentially much to gain.

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by Dr Dij In reply to Go for it

no harm applying, you don't put where you applied on resume / cover letter.

Strange as it sounds, if you did get the job and decided to switch, because it is at dift branch of govt, I think you could simply say 'transferred to dift agency' on resume, and no one would care or be the wiser. They would think you might have been moved or not think of this at all.

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Usually ask

by JamesRL In reply to Right

When I read a resume, and select it for interview, that would be something that stood out. If interviewing I would ask, "Why did you stay there for such a short time?" or "Why did you leave dept A for Dept b?" I know my HR department would also ask. If there were many qualified applicants, it could be the factor that causes a reviewer to reject the resume.

When you have 500 resumes, you have to have some criteria for narrowing down the search, and a short period does not necessarily indicate a stable history. I wouldn't out of hand reject it, but some would. If I had two equally qualified candidates, I would pick the one with the stable history. Sorry if that offends some, but thats the way it is.



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You're right

by amcol In reply to Usually ask

James, it's a legitimate and common question to ask, something I do myself. Of course...any competent interviewer would, since a history of short duration jobs tells you a lot about a candidate's sense of loyalty and focus.

I don't hire people who are only joining my team to build their resumes on my nickel. You don't either. It's a bit of an art to divine a candidate's motives in advance but it can be done.

In this particular case (as usual) we don't know any more about the original poster than the information provided so we have to make some assumptions. If he/she leaves the current job it'll be after only four short months. Is this a one time occurence or a pattern? We as interviewers have to put everything into context. Candidates who've had, let's say, three jobs in 20 years but then leave a fourth job after only four months don't raise the hair on the back of my neck. On the other hand, someone who's had ten jobs in six years or someone who's leaving a job after four months having only been in the work force for a couple of years, regardless of their prior history, probably wouldn't get an interview from me.

BTW, this might interest you. I've been advertising a job for a technical support manager (here in our DC headquarters) and listed the qualifications as follows: 8-15 years experience, excellent general technical skills principally in software (infrastructure not required), excellent communication skills with a consultative mindset, demonstrable experience with product selection and vendor relationship management. The comp is competitive, considering the job's in the Federal government sector. I was expecting a flood of resumes but I only got about 35. A friend of mine in a Fortune 500 company up in NY is also currently advertising a lower level position for a database developer to work in a business intelligence group. Less experience required, more technical than anything else, excellent comp and benefits. He only got 30 resumes. Maybe there's less of a glut of qualified IT professionals than everyone's been screaming about. What do you think?

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by Jaqui In reply to You're right

may have something to do with the glut or lack thereof.

here in Vancouver there are lots with the paper certs who are working as wait staff in restaurants.

most have no experience, some have experience and are only getting offers for entry level positions, with very low wages.

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I thought the same thing

by amcol In reply to Location

Which is why I found it interesting that the lack of response occurred in both locations, DC and NY.

While it may sound like the two are pretty much the same...large urban areas in the northeast corridor (although folks who identify themselves as "southerners" would probably disagree)...they're actually quite different. They're 300 miles apart, for one thing, and the economies of both areas couldn't be any more distinct. NY's is principally based on financial services while DC's is primarily government and government-related spending.

I really don't think location is the driving factor, and frankly I still don't get it.

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I haven't posted a job for over a year

by JamesRL In reply to You're right

But last year I got 600 resumes for a Windows server specialist and 400 for a technical writer, and our pay is not at the high end of the scale. This is in Toronto.

Of course less than half met 50% of the requirements. Probably 10% met 80%.

I winnow it down to about 20, and do a little telephone screening. From there I select 5 or 6 to interview.


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